17 Jan 2018

Travelling the universe with Richard Easther

11:25 am on 18 January 2018

Auckland University Professor of Physics Richard Easther takes us on a journey around the universe, exploring Mars and Pluto, skimming past the huge black hole in the Milky Way and ending where time began.

University of Auckland cosmologist Richard Easther.

University of Auckland cosmologist Richard Easther. Photo: University of Auckland

Science of space travel: Journey to Mars

Professor Richard Easther explains when people might get to the fourth planet from the Sun, the dangers of staying for any length of time, and whether the planet would look anything like The Martian.

NASA's rover Curiosity on Mars.

The NASA rover, Curiosity, on Mars. Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

Science of space travel: Journey to Pluto

Formerly a planet, now a dwarf planet, Pluto has massive ice mountains and a huge moon, Charon. The Horizons probe took 10 years to arrive, but a manned mission would take a new type of rocket - presumably nuclear powered.

Illustration of Pluto seen from the surface of its largest moon, Charon.

Illustration of Pluto seen from the surface of its largest moon, Charon. Photo: AFP / Mark Garlick / Science Photo Library

Science of space travel: The Black Hole

Richard Easther wants to get close - but not too close - to the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way which has four million times the mass of the Sun. He discusses the science-fiction forms of transport which could get people there, and what there is to see at the site.

The Milky Way has a massive black hole at its centre known as Sagitarrius A*.

The Milky Way has a massive black hole at its centre known as Sagitarrius A*. Photo: Supplied/ ESA–C. Carreau

Science of space travel: The Big Bang

The Big Bang, which started the universe as we know it, happened in every point in space. So to get to Richard Easther's personal favourite destination, all you have to do stay where you are and dial back time. When you arrive, presumably in a Tardis, whatever you do, don't open the door.

A map of relic radiation from the Big Bang - the oldest light in the universe.

A map of relic radiation from the Big Bang - the oldest light in the universe. Photo: AFP / ESA / LFI & HFI Consortia

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